Manchin's Match-Up: GOP Gov. Jim Justice Throws His Hat Into the Ring in 2024 WV Senate Race

West Virginia Republican Governor Jim Justice chose his 72nd birthday to make a major announcement: he’s running for the Senate in 2024 against Democrat incumbent Joe Manchin.

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The governor, who is barred by term limits from running for a third term, made the pronouncement from a resort he owns in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Manchin, meanwhile, is vulnerable as he voted for the inflation-causing, budget-busting Inflation Reduction Act and is a Democrat in a red state which Former President Donald Trump won in 2016—and again in 2020 by nearly 40 points.

RedState’s Sister Toldjah, who on Monday previewed Justice’s expected run, explained Manchin’s challenges:

We’ve previously reported on how Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has been running away from President Joe Biden as fast as he can, including by way of wreaking havoc on some of Biden’s cabinet nominees and even threatening to sue the Biden administration “if they don’t implement the revised electric vehicle tax credit” from the bogusly-named Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) “as he believes they agreed to do.”

The reason he’ll tell people he’s doing this is that he wants the Biden administration and Senate Democrats to live up to what they allegedly promised him when he caved on the Inflation Reduction Act. But in reality, he’s doing it because he sees the writing on the wall regarding his reelection chances, and wants his state’s voters to forget how he got played by Joe Biden and Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

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Justice is ready to take him on:

“I am officially announcing my candidacy for the United States Senate,” Justice told a roomful of supporters in White Sulphur Springs. “And I absolutely will promise you to God above that I will do the job, and I will do the job that will make you proud.”

The governor dropped this campaign-style video on Twitter Thursday evening:

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was there to endorse him:

“We need help in Washington. We need a winner. We need somebody that can win in a general election. A conservative who can move the ball forward in Washington, DC,” Graham said. He added that “we’ve made mistakes in 2022. We didn’t nominate maybe the right person for the state in which they were running – I promise you, Jim Justice is the right person for West Virginia.”

Justice has switched parties before—he was elected governor as a Democrat in 2016—but now seemingly espouses strong conservative views. CNN:

Justice easily won a second term in 2020. He has recently focused on conservative issues. Last year, he signed into law a measure that prohibits nearly all abortions in the state, except in certain medical situations or in cases of rape or incest. Last month, he signed a bill that will allow West Virginians who have a concealed carry permit to carry certain concealed weapons onto college and university campuses.

Justice highlighted a few policy priorities on Thursday, touching on abortion, gun rights and the growing conservative focus on education and parental involvement. “We have absolutely crafted laws against abortion in this state that are the toughest of the toughest,” he said.

“I have never seen a gun kill anybody. Ever,” Justice said when discussing Second Amendment rights. “But there’s a heck of a lot of people that kill people.”

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Jim Justice will be a formidable candidate, and Manchin will have his work cut out for him. I used to give the “last blue dog Democrat” the benefit of the doubt, because he and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema were the only two Democratic senators who stood in the way of what would have been a disastrous killing of the filibuster in 2022.

But once he voted for the behemoth Inflation Reduction Act, I could no longer defend him, and I doubt West Virginia voters will either.

Game on.

 

The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of RedState.com.

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